HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The owner of a Hagerstown cement plant has agreed to a $700,000 fine to settle allegations it violated the federal Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the proposed settlement Thursday with the U.S. arm of the Swiss company Holcim and its St. Lawrence Cement Co. subsidiary.

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In addition to the penalty, Holcim agreed to spend at least $150,000 to upgrade pollution controls to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from a cement kiln at the plant.

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The government alleged the companies made unlawful modifications from 2003 to 2007 that resulted in significant net increases in sulfur dioxide emissions without first obtaining a required permit.

The proposed consent decree was filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. It is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

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